Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pretty Things

My cousin Helen, who is a life coach and healer, petitioned me this morning with the idea that I can choose to allow others their life experiences without choosing to make their experiences mine. She was talking about our 92-year-old Aunt Winnie, for whom I am a primary caregiver, and her daughter, the 46-year-old drug addict. Helen was referring to the fact that despite what amounts to years of being abused, my aunt has strenuously objected to having her daughter removed from the house. 

Not that said removal can be accomplished simply. It would take police statements and court orders and judgements, a process unfolding over weeks and months. And as my aunt's power of attorney, I am the one who would have to climb that mountain. My mother and her other sisters are pleading with me to do so. My husband thinks I should have taken decisive action long ago, against Aunt Winnie's wishes. Helen's is the only voice suggesting that my aunt has chosen the situation. 

"Leave me to my children!" my aunt cried out the last time we mounted a concerted effort to get her daughter out the house. Her face crumpled and tears sprung from her eyes and we all relented. As we always do.

My cousin Helen said, "When are you going to give yourself permission to choose differently?"

Today, maybe. 


  1. I don't know all the details, obviously, but it's possible that trying to remove your cousin against your aunt's wishes would do your aunt more harm than good. I think she has to make the choice, if that's the route she wants to go. There's certainly nothing wrong with you encouraging her to make that choice.

  2. gosh Angella what an impossible decision has been placed on your shoulders, and it must be heartbreaking. It seems rational that the daughter be removed. But perhaps Helen is right and whatever part of your aunt can't bear to be without her daughter should be respected. Even though it seems to be for her own good, your aunt may be worse off without her daughter because of this unbreakable bond she has with her. Since this has been going on for years, maybe she has indeed chosen it, irrational as it is?

  3. An interesting blog. Life is never simple. But you sound strong so good luck.

  4. That's so awful, and so inescapably painful, I ache for you. There is no right answer. I hope something changes to make the situation ease, at least a little.